What you need to know about the new night train from Copenhagen to Germany

On June 27, the Swedish railway company Snälltåget sent its first night train from Stockholm to Berlin, stopping at Høje Taastrup outside Copenhagen on the way to Germany.

It will be the first international night train line through Denmark since November 2014, when the Swiss CityNightLine rail service stopped serving Denmark.

Here’s what you need to know about the new overnight train connection between Copenhagen and Germany.

I am ready to go! What time can I catch the train in Copenhagen?

The train stops at Høje Taastrup at 10:45 p.m. It leaves Hamburg at 5:31 am and Berlin at 8:52 am the next morning, according to Snälltåget. The return journey begins from Berlin at 7:02 p.m. and Hamburg at 11:26 p.m., arriving at Høje Taastrup at 6:38 a.m. the next morning.

Image: Snälltaget

When will the night train run?

Departures from Sweden will be provided daily from June 27 to September 5, then Wednesdays and Saturdays until September 29. Departures from Germany will be provided every day from June 28 to September 5, then Wednesdays and Saturdays from September 8 to October 2.

How much does the train cost?

Prices vary according to departure and comfort class. Prices are available through Snälltåget’s online reservation system.

There are three levels of comfort. The most affordable option is to purchase a basic reserved seat. It is also possible to reserve a wider reclining seat, which includes bedding. Private compartments, which can accommodate up to six travelers, are also available.

The private compartment can be switched from seat mode to sleep mode, with three bunk beds on either side of the compartment. Due to Covid-19, Snälltåget does not accept solo bookings in compartments.

Snälltåget honors the valid Interrail Global Pass, but also requires the purchase of a reservation, the price of which ranges from DKK 145 to DKK 1680. The entire journey must take place during the validity period of your Interrail pass.

What amenities are available?

There are two restaurants on the train. This includes Krogen (The Pub), which requires a reservation, and Lönnkrogen (The Little Pub), which offers drinks, snacks, and a pre-ordered breakfast.

Night trains offer Wi-Fi and power outlets, and each coach, regardless of class, has two toilets. Unfortunately, animals and bicycles (except folding bicycles) are not allowed on the journey.

Berlin skyline
The new night train departs from Høje Taastrup at 10:45 p.m. and leaves Hamburg at 5:31 a.m. and Berlin (pictured) at 8:52 a.m. the next morning. Photo: Florian Wehde / Unsplash

I arrived in Hamburg or Berlin. And now?

In addition to discovering Hamburg and Berlin, tourists can continue their journey by night train with BB Nightjet, a service announced by the Austrian National Railways in December 2020. Night trains from Hamburg connect Vienna, Innsbruck or Zurich, and from Berlin to Zurich, Basel or Vienna.

A French startup, Midnight Trains, hopes to further expand the European network of night trains in 2024, connecting cities in France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Scotland. The Guardian reports that ticket prices would be competitive with short-haul flights, including the hidden costs of baggage and transit fees to and from the airport.

Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht came to the platform to meet the first night train and give a short speech
Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht came to the platform to meet the first night train and give a short speech. Photo: Claus Bech / Ritzau Scanpix

What is behind the return of European night trains?

Over the years, European night trains were phased out as the popularity of low cost flights and long distance buses increased, The Guardian reported. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, tourists are expected to be more interested in more sustainable forms of travel.

Night trains are part of the European Commission’s plans to move passengers to rail service, as outlined in its Sustainable and smart mobility strategy released in December 2020.

The new push towards night trains has long been awaited by some Danes. In 2018, the Transport, Construction and Housing Committee in Christiansborg has received around 42,000 signatures demanding the return of night trains to Denmark.

“There is great interest in traveling by train and overnight train, seen from an environmental point of view,” said Marco Andersson, sales manager of the Swedish company. Snälltåget says it uses green energy, including water, solar power and hydropower, to reduce the environmental impact of overnight train travel.

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